March 8, 2022 is recognized as International Women’s Day. It’s an opportunity to pay tribute to all the women who have stood up against an unjust society, paving the way for the freedom of future generations. It’s a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s a day to celebrate women from around the globe for their contributions to the world! It’s a day to celebrate our Creator for His love and His plans for every one of us. It’s a day to celebrate YOU!
In Acts 16 we find a beautiful story of a woman named Lydia. I would encourage you to read once again this story of obedience on Paul’s part that led to a transformational life for Lydia.
We find her story here because God had a specific encounter for her, He had a plan to use her in a way she never could have imagined. The story of Lydia is a reminder that God shows up in unexpected places and He uses women in all walks and seasons of life. Her story becomes quite extraordinary and transformational for generations to come.
Lydia by trade, sold expensive purple cloth. She must have had a reputation as someone of influence, wealth, and who was educated. However, she was lacking the most significant detail in her story…she didn’t know Jesus. She was a woman of prayer and as she heard Paul speaking about Jesus, she didn’t waste time to kneel and open her heart. The Word says that she lost no time in confessing her sins and was baptized in the same river where she had gathered many times to pray. We read that members of her household were also saved!! She immediately opened her home to Paul and the other missionaries. This conversion had even greater purpose for the story continues that Lydia became the first person to share the gospel in Europe. God uses women!
Lives are transformed when people see the image of God through you and me. Lydia could have said, someone else can open their home, someone else can go to Europe and share Jesus, but she realized her purpose and allowed God to use her. People need to see God being used in our lives; our lives must be so transparent that others see the heart of God through our actions and love for others, even though we may feel like it’s not enough! You may be searching, doubting or questioning your purpose. Your circumstances may feel overwhelming today. Every woman before us has faced her battles, but God will use you where you are when your heart is opened to His leading. Some are called to a riverbank, some are called to Africa, some are called to the communities right where they are.
We are all called to make a difference for the Kingdom. We are to be Kingdom women! Thank you for loving Jesus and preparing the way for others to follow. I’m blessed to call you beloved sisters in Christ!
Check out this LINK to learn more about how The Salvation Army is celebrating International Women’s Day!
https://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/March-blog-2-scaled.jpg25601920Beth Desplanckehttps://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/uswLogo-300x75-300x75.pngBeth Desplancke2022-02-16 09:25:572022-02-16 13:11:33International Women's Day
By Major Vicky Villanea Santa Maria, CA Corps – California South Division
NOTE: This craft is in both English and Spanish
⦁ 10 Palitos de Elote ⦁ 1 Gancho de Alambre ⦁ Tela ⦁ Pistola de Goma y goma ⦁ Cinta ⦁ Cinta Floral ⦁ Decoraciones: cordon, perlas, flores, etc. ⦁ Alicate ⦁ Alambre grueso y delgado ⦁ Tijeras
⦁ 10 Skewers ⦁ 1 Wire Hanger ⦁ Hot Glue Gun ⦁ Hot Glue Sticks ⦁ Fabric ⦁ Ribbon ⦁ Floral Tape ⦁ Decorations: pearls, flower, diamonds, etc. ⦁ Pliers ⦁ Thin and Thick Wire ⦁ Scissors
Step 1: Cut the top of the skewers. Join the 4 skewers together to form a triangle. Next use a good amount of glue and wire to join the triangles and add support. Paso 1: ImageJuntamos 4 palitos formando un triangulo. Ponemos bastante goma y alambre alrededor para soporte.
Step 2: Form an arch with thick wire and bend the ends to hook them together. Place 37 cm of wire and form a half arch. Paso 2: Formamos un arco con el alambre grueso y doblamos las puntas para enganchar entre 37 cm de largo y formamos un medio arco.
Step 3:Place the wire on the previous triangle and bring down 6 cm on both sides to make a curve Paso 3: Montamos el alambre en el triángulo y bajamos 6 cm de los dos lados
Step 4: Join the first triangle with the arch by gluing the arch on top. Place 3 skewers on top of the wire with hot glue to form a basket. Paso 4: Formamos la curva para el triángulo que va encima. Ponemos 3 palitos encima con goma y van a quedar sobre el alambre para formar una canasta.
Step 5: Cut 8 skewers to be 8 cm long. Join 2 skewers with hot glue that will form a V shape: having 4 V shapes in total. Paso 5: Cortar 8 palos de 8 cm cada uno y unirlos de dos en dos en forma de V.
Step 6: Take the wire hanger, cut the sides with pliers to use only the hook, and stretch out the bottom part. Glue the hook to the triangle and add the thin wire for support. Paso 6: Con el gancho de alambre, corten el alambre de los lados con alicates, y estirar el alambre.
Step 7: Place the V shape skewers on the triangle arch in the way that the V shape skewers will be taller than the arch forming the peaks of the umbrella Paso 7: Con los palitos en forma de V coloquen en el triángulo en manera que los palos sean más altos para formar los picos de la sombrilla
Step 8: Wrap the whole shape in floral tape to add support Paso 8: Envolvemos todo el triángulo en cinta floral para fortalecer la forma
Step 9: Cut fabric to the size of the triangle Paso 9: Cortamos tela al tamaño del triangulo
Step 10: Form the triangle with the fabric using hot glue on the peaks of the triangle cut towards the middle, fold the fabric, and glue down Paso 10: Forramos primero el triángulo con goma los extremos y en los picos cortamos hacia el centro y doblamos la tela y pegamos
Step 11: Once everything is covered giving the shape of the peaks, cut the triangle on the backside, and glue the fabric to the first triangle Paso 11: Cortamos el triángulo de atrás y pegamos a los lados tapando el primer triángulo
Step 12: Once everything is covered, decorate the way you would like Paso 12: Una vez todo este forrado lo decoramos con sus detales
Tú eres mi refugio; tú me protegerás del peligro y me rodearás con cánticos de liberación. Salmo 32:7
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
Download the printable version of the directions for this craft.
By Captain Patricia Torres Ventura, CA Corps – California South Division
INTRODUCTION There is much confusion in the world today in regards of the role of women in marriage. Though the Bible is not a manual that answers every human question, it contains the answer to questions such as: Why did God create Adam and Eve? What is the main purpose of the woman? We will see in the story of Eve that women are a beautiful creation with a huge capacity to influence those around them. Women have a responsibility to use that influence for good and not for evil.
A. EVE, CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD We read in Genesis 1: 27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female He created them.” Eve, like Adam, was created perfect and in the image and likeness of God, i.e., not only did they have body and soul, but also a spirit. The spirit is the part of us that can know God and have fellowship with Him. Adam and Eve were intelligent beings, capable of thinking and reasoning; having emotions, able to feel and love, and able to make their own decisions.
Eve understood that she had been created to glorify God, to love Him and to have communion with her husband, multiply and fill the Earth. The two understood they needed to fill the earth and subdue it, having authority over it. (Genesis 1: 28)
B. THE FUNCTION OF THE FIRST WOMAN: SUITABLE HELP Chapter 1 of Genesis tells us about the creation while chapter 2 enters more in detail about the formation of men and women. Once the Lord formed Adam from the dust of the Earth, then he said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2: 18). So God made Adam fall into a deep sleep and created a woman from one of his ribs. Eve was created to be of help to Adam, a colleague and a friend.
God didn’t create woman out of the man’s head, so that she does not dominate; He didn’t create her from man’s feet so he wouldn’t step on her, but of a rib, so that she would be his companion. While she was created after the man, it is not to say that it was “a solution of last minute”. She was part of the original plan. Woman is not complete without the man, or the man without the woman. They are equal in value, but with different functions. Within the operation of the marriage, the man is intended to be head of the household and thus ensure the family order. God is a God of order. In the Trinity, the Son is not inferior to the Father; however, He is obedient to his Father’s authority.
C. FOUR PRINCIPLES FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE Hundreds of books have been written about the “secret” for marital happiness. In Genesis 2 we have four principles: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2: 24, 25
In these two verses we find four dynamic principles ensuring the happiness of man and woman. Many family conflicts are rooted in that we’ve broken one or more of these biblical principles. Although God gave them to us thousands of years ago, they are still current and hold much truth and power in the 21th century.
It is significant that the words of verse 24, coming out of the mouth of Adam, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh,” are repeated three times in the New Testament. Twice said by Jesus (Matthew 19: 5; Mark 10: 7-8) and once by the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5: 31). These words were declared once before the fall of man into sin and three times after he sinned. Here we have the marriage plan for man, the way God intended it to be, in its perfect state and also among a world of sin.
FOUR SIMPLE BUT POWERFUL PRINCIPLES:
Man will leave his father and his mother…SEPARATION
He will unite to his wife…PERMANENCE
And they will be one flesh…UNION
Were both naked, Adam and his wife, and were not ashamed…INTIMACY
D. THE FIRST ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE In Genesis 3 begins a radical change because Satan is present in the form of a snake, the most cunning of all animals. First he appears to Eve, with the intention of making her doubt God’s goodness: “Did God really say: You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).
Eve clearly replied: “but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
Satan then denied what was said by God. “You will certainly not die”… This is the first lie recorded in history. Eve had to make a decision: God had said “or you will die” and now Satan tells her, ” You will certainly not die.” She had to choose whom to believe: God or Satan. We have to make this same decision daily!
Eve then saw the fruit: that the tree was good for food, it was pleasant to the eyes, that it was desirable to make one wise, and she ate it. Eve chose to believe Satan; she was deceived. Being crafty, Satan did not use this same plan with Adam; he didn’t speak directly to Adam, but had Eve make Adam disobey God. When Eve offered the fruit, Adam had made a decision. He knew very well what God had said, however; he took the fruit.
This story clearly demonstrates one of the special qualities of the woman, a quality that can be used for good or evil: the power of influencing. There is no explanation adequate to the influential nature of women, but it is a reality that the tempter directed himself to Eve instead of her husband.
E. THE IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN
Spiritual Death The entrance of sin results in that the couple was separated from God who is the source of life. The friendship they had enjoyed with their Creator, was now broken. Therefore, they experimented for the first time shame, guilt and fear.
The curse Due to his daring behavior, God cursed Satan and the Earth. But Eve and Adam only received a punishment because God wanted to restore them in the future. a) Satan The serpent would be cursed among the created animals; God said to the serpent that its head would be crushed by the seed of the woman. We will see that this curse was symbolic, noting the future time of the defeat of Satan. b) Woman She would birth to her children with suffering and pain. God made emphasis on the fact that Adam would rule over her. c) Man The land would be cursed because of him, it would produce thorns and thistles for him, and he would have to fulfill his needs with the sweat of his brow meaning through hard and painful labor. Because of his sin he and Eve had to exit the garden, leave paradise, and the door was closed.
F. THE FIRST PROMISE OF RESTORATION God did not allow the first couple to leave the garden that day without first receiving a word of hope. He always has a word of hope… for them and for us. He always offers a way out of our impossible situation.
He not only made them with his own hands, skins to cover their nakedness, but He spoke to them clearly about One who would bring them permanent relief from their sad condition. He spoke of a person who was going to be born of a woman, and that one day would crush the head of that snake which Eve had that fatal conversation with. (Genesis 3: 15)
Satan is personified as a snake. This prophecy stated that one day Satan would encounter one of the descendants son of Eve (speaking of Jesus), but this Son will hurt Satan and defeat him. On the cross, Satan thought he would crush Jesus; but when Jesus rose from the dead, he crushed the head of the devil. The door to the presence of God is no longer closed!
SUMMARY What lesson can we learn from Eve?
Eve was created to be a suitable help for man, a colleague and a friend. When it is understood that women are not in a competition with men, but they are to help and to be friends and companions, then less conflicts in marriage and between sexes will occur.
Eve did not honor the leadership role of her husband and thus suffered serious consequences. The spirit of rebellion in Adam and Eve affected their children and as a consequence one of them killed his sibling. This same spirit of rebellion is present in the world today destroying entire families. Do not allow such spirit to come into your heart.
Eve, along with Adam, was created to conquer their world. God said to BOTH, the man to the woman: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the Earth, subdue it and rule over it…” (Gen. 1: 28). The word SUBDUE means “conquer” and the word RULE means “govern”.
Did you know that you were created to govern and rule in this life and not to be dominated, nor be a victim of circumstances?
Adam blamed Eve, and she blamed the serpent. When you commit an error, do you have the tendency to blame someone else and or blame the circumstances around you? The first sign of maturity is to accept responsibility for our own actions and to say: “I am guilty” or “I have sinned”.
When a woman recognizes that the purpose of her life is becoming a fulfilled woman. What does this mean?
It means to know God and have full communion with Him. He wants to take your wretched life and make you a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5: 17) What happened with Eve affects us all. Through her and Adam, sin entered the world. But the good news is:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6: 23
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5: 8
Now the only sin which separates us from God is not accepting Jesus Christ as our only Lord and Savior. To take advantage of this salvation, we must repent and confess Him with our mouth. “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart God raised Him, from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that “With the heart, belief for Justice, but with the mouth is confessed for salvation.” (Romans 10: 9, 10) If you’ve never taken this important step, you can do it right now. Pray aloud and with all your heart.
“FATHER I CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.” I ACCEPT HIM AS THE SOLE LORD OF MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. I BELIEVE IN MY HEART THAT YOU RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD. I REPENT AND RENOUNCE MY PAST LIFE. I THANK YOU FOR FORGIVING ALL MY SINS. I MAKE JESUS THE LORD OF MY LIFE”.
After you do so, Accept the forgiveness of God, do not continue living with guilt. Many women live with a sense of guilt and need to be set free from it. Have you accepted God’s forgiveness? Have you forgiven yourself?
Biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/eve; Womeninthebible.net/women-bible-old-testament/eve Holy Bible, New Living Translation Carol Stream, IL 1996. Print; www.biblestudytools.com. N.p., n.d. Web.
Download the printable version of this Bible study.
https://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/March-Bible-study-scaled.jpg19202560Beth Desplanckehttps://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/uswLogo-300x75-300x75.pngBeth Desplancke2022-02-15 11:13:002022-02-15 11:13:22March 2022 Bible Study: Eve, the Privilege of Being the First Woman
This month’s issue is all about St. Patrick’s Day. The beautiful, green shamrock is a great reminder of the message of hope found in Jesus Christ. Just as St. Patrick shared the good news of Jesus to the people of Ireland, may we be God’s messengers sharing the hopeful message of the love and salvation of Jesus to those we meet.
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15
Also included in this issue are some great shamrock craft ideas and Bible trivia questions about people who told others about Jesus. As always, there are ideas from around the USA Western Territory to inspire ideas for your own WM group.
By Major Martha Trimmer Pastoral Care & Financial Development Officer – California South Division
“Since God chose you to be a holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12 NLT
It was one of those days when I was feeling out of my comfort zone. Having served in Corps appointments for 27 years I knew what was expected of me, what was needed and when to step into action. My world changed when we received the call five years ago that we were being appointed to THQ in the Corps Ministries Department. Going from a Corps appointment to an office at THQ I had lost my footing. I was feeling the loss of a congregation, a community. Everything that I had known had changed. Who were my people now? How do I minister to others in this appointment? I am not saying that ministry does not happen at THQ, only that my ministry had changed so drastically it took me a bit to adjust.
During our lunch time I was sharing with my husband Kyle, how I was feeling. I remember praying with him and sharing with the Lord my desire to serve Him no matter where we were. I prayed, “I know You are still at work no matter our circumstance. We want to join you in whatever ministry You have for us today.” No big deal, right? You have probably prayed the same prayer and moved on to the next thing.
Kyle and I took our walk after our lunch and we saw God at work immediately. As we walked down the street, we ran into a homeless man who did not have any shoes or socks and was using a towel to shuffle his bare feet to make his way down the sidewalk. It was a very hot day, and you could feel the heat radiate from the sidewalk. I asked him to have a seat on the bench and let him know we would walk to the convenient store and pick up some flip flops for him and be right back. The store was about 4 blocks away. He took a seat and said he would wait.
On our way to the store we ran into a woman on her bike who recognized the TSA uniform and stopped us. She said, “Oh, The Salvation Army,” and I said, “Yes; are you familiar with the Army?” She replied “yes,” and then told us that she went through the ARC Women’s program and was now reunited with her family after her struggles with addiction. We asked if we could pray with her and she agreed and shared that she needed a job. So right there in the middle of that sidewalk we prayed that God would meet her need and keep her safe.
We made it to the store and picked up the flip flops, water, snacks, and socks for the man who we prayed was still waiting for us on the bench by THQ. On our way back we were stopped again by another individual who recognized our uniforms and again said” Oh, The Salvation Army.” Kyle and I looked at each other and smiled, and said “yes.” He was a board member from one of the Corps in Northern California. We thanked him for serving on the board and he quickly turned it around and said: “No, thank you for what you are doing.” After a short interaction we continued back to THQ.
We finally made it back to the bench and our friend was still there waiting for us. We provided for his basic needs, left him and went back into the THQ building with smiles on our face. It doesn’t matter where you are, or what your appointment is, God just asks that we join Him in whatever He has for us to do.
This simple walk helped me to refocus on the Lord. You know, those times when the Holy Spirit steps in and gives the needed correction. I am so glad I responded to the Spirit’s prompting. It’s the little things that matter.
Will our paths every cross again with those three individuals? Probably not. Will we ever know the outcome? Probably not, but I still remember how each one of those individuals ministered to me in my time of need.
God is still at work and it is up to us to join Him in whatever He has for us. Sometimes we forget who we are really working for. I prayed a simple prayer that day, and God heard me. I need to make sure I hear Him too. My prayer is that you will be encouraged and lifted up as you continue to lead and serve faithfully where God has placed you.
My journey in leadership reminds me of the song, “If My Feet Have Faltered” (Song #672 in The Salvation Army Songbook, by Albert Orsborn):
1. SAVIOR, if my feet have faltered On the pathway of the cross, If my purposes have altered Or my gold be mixed with dross, O forbid me not Thy service, Keep me yet in Thy employ, Pass me through a sterner cleansing If I may but give Thee joy!
All my work is for the Master, He is all my heart’s desire; O that He may count me faithful In the day that tries by fire!
2. Have I worked for hireling wages, Or as one with vows to keep, With a heart whose love engages Life or death, to save the sheep? All is known to Thee, my Master, All is known, and that is why I can work and wait the verdict Of Thy kind but searching eye.
3. I must love Thee, love must rule me, Springing up and flowing forth From a childlike heart within me, Or my work is nothing worth. Love with passion and with patience, Love with principle and fire, Love with heart and mind and utterance, Serving Christ my one desire.
https://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Mar-She-Leads-scaled.jpg17062560Beth Desplanckehttps://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/uswLogo-300x75-300x75.pngBeth Desplancke2022-02-15 11:12:002022-02-15 11:12:23She Leads... With a Listening Heart
By Captain Joanna Wang San Gabriel, CA Corps – California South Division
A few months ago, I was walking in my neighborhood with my two-year-old son. I decided to pick up the pace a little and started to jog. Things were going great until, all of a sudden, I found myself falling. I couldn’t stop myself and fell on the ground, scraping my hands and knees. For a split-second, I was in shock, unable to move, feeling like it was almost a dream. Then I remembered where I was and who I was with. I looked over at my son, getting ready to tell him to come and hold my hand, realizing the possible danger of the situation, and wanting to make sure that he didn’t run into the road. And then I realized that he was lying beside me on the sidewalk. He was copying my movements. Then, as I sat up, groaning and near tears from the pain, my son sat beside me and took my injured hand in his little hands. He then kissed my hand while looking up at me and saying, “Aw!” Not only did he not run into the road or down the sidewalk where I might not have been able to catch him, but he just stayed with me until I got up and hobbled home. For the next few days, when he looked at my scraped-up knee or injured hand, he would say, “Aw!” with sweet compassion and would proceed to try to kiss the pain away. Such sweet compassion I experienced from the actions of a two-year-old!
I was deeply touched by the compassion that my little boy showed me during that time. In fact, as I experienced my son’s compassionate response to my pain, I was also reminded of how our Heavenly Father shows us compassion as well. Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” Our God is full of compassion and He demonstrates it to us time and time again. In fact, this was one of the characteristics of Jesus that stood out the most during His time on earth as He interacted with and ministered to people. We see His compassion when He raised the widow’s son from the dead in Luke 7. Verse 13 says, “When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.” Even though He was going to bring the boy back from the dead, He knew that her heart was broken, and He showed compassion to her in the midst of her grief. Again, we see Jesus’ compassion in Matthew 15 when He feeds the four thousand because they had been with Him for three days without food and He knew that they were in need. In verse 32 it says, “Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’” Also, in Matthew 9:36, we see Jesus compassion yet again. This verse says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Jesus cared deeply for people and showed compassion to them over and over again. Today, He continues to show us compassion because of His immeasurable love for us. He knows that we too are in need. We too are heartbroken at times. We too are in need of things. We too need the Lord to guide us in our lives as we navigate the challenges that we face in this world. And the wonderful thing is that God meets us right where we are, filled with love and compassion, and He shows us that He is with us. And because He is with us, we know that we are not alone, and we will never be alone. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you are.”
This promise of God’s presence with us is a beautiful demonstration of His compassion for us. And as we experience His compassion, we can also show compassion to others. Second Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Is your heart hurting today? Do you need our God of all compassion to minister to you? Cry out to Him. He is there! Have you experienced God’s compassion? Ask the Lord to help you to pass that compassion on to others, helping them when they are in need, encouraging them, ministering to them as He leads you. As we experience God’s compassion, may we then pass it on to others so that they too can see Jesus and experience His compassion for themselves.
Prayer: God, thank you for the compassion that you show us because of your amazing love for us. Thank you for meeting us right where we are and ministering to us. Please help us to show your compassion to others too so that they can see you and so that they too can know your love and compassion for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
https://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/March-devo-scaled.jpg17072560Beth Desplanckehttps://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/uswLogo-300x75-300x75.pngBeth Desplancke2022-02-15 11:11:002022-02-15 11:11:59March 2022 Devotional: Compassion...Pass it On
February 14th is Valentine’s Day, a day we focus on love. Let’s spend the whole month of February focusing on God’s love for us, and our love for others. This month’s symbol of hope is the dove. Find out why doves are often pictured on Valentine’s and how they symbolize hope.
Also included in this month’s newsletter are some cute dove/bird craft ideas you can incorporate into your Valentine’s Day celebrations as well as a fun Valentines in the Bible trivia.
Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5
By Captain Susan Cassin Anacortes, WA Corps – Northwest Division
When it comes to shopping there are two prevailing mindsets around this activity. There are those who love it and those who only endure it out of necessity; hoping to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible and with as little impact to their bank account as possible. If I were to look at my life as a teenager and in my early adult years, I definitely fell into the later category where shopping was just a chore to get through.
To this day, I can’t say I love shopping but my attitude towards this activity was altered after a shopping trip with friends over 8 years ago. Now, I can’t remember what occasioned this shopping adventure, but here we were, just three college students on a budget, probably running errands, who on a whim, stopped in at some department store to do some window shopping.
What began as an opportunity to browse that racks, somehow morphed into us grabbing a bunch of dresses to take turns trying on. In that moment as I joined in with picking out dresses, what normally been a chore, became a memory of fun and laughter to cherish. As we grabbed dresses to try out, seemingly by unspoken agreement, we selected outfits that we viewed as dowdy, garish, and so out of our regular realm of style that we would’ve never had looked twice at them if we were actually on the hunt for something to buy.
As I reflect back on this memory, I experience great joy in recalling how we each took turns trying on the dresses, posing in front of the dressing room mirror, and taking silly group photos. Added to the feeling of joy was the amazement that somehow each of us, different in body shape and size, were able to fit into these dresses. Of course, as you all know from your own experience, the ability to fit into a clothing item doesn’t mean that it works for your body type, coloring, style, occasion, etc.
God created us individually and uniquely. For this reason, the things that might be a good fit for one person, might not work for you or for someone else. In the case of this fashion experiment, some dresses looked way better on me than on my friends and vice a versus. The reality of our uniqueness extends beyond the realm of fashion and our physical appearance to encompass all aspects of our lives. One of these aspects that I’d like to spend our time looking at today is the connection between our individuality and the command we’ve been given to love.
In John chapter 13, Jesus who knows that He is just hours away from being arrested, going through a sham of a trial, and will be crucified amongst two criminals, is sharing one last meal with his disciples. During this meal that we call the Last Supper, Jesus doesn’t waste these last moments of intimate fellowship with his friends and students. Jesus attempts to prepare them that he is soon leaving them, and Jesus continues to teach. In John’s account of the Last Supper, in John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Now, if you’ve read any of the other gospels, you may recall that in Mark 12:28-32, that Jesus summarizes the Ten Commandments given to the Israelites in Exodus by saying that the first and greatest commandment that we have been given, is to love God with all that we are, and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Knowing that this commandment to love was already established as part of the Mosaic Law found in the Old Testament, makes us question, how is this a new commandment? Well when Jesus refers to this new commandment in John 13:34, the Greek word kainos that is used, is a word that conveys freshness. This tells us that Jesus isn’t introducing a new commandment, but he is instead, giving our perspective or understanding on what it means to live out this commandment, a makeover. Let’s breakdown what this love makeover looked like.
Jesus says, “love one another.” In other portions of Scripture there is a call to love one’s neighbor. The use of the word neighbor though seems to have created ambiguity because it gave people an excuse to define for themselves who counted as their “neighbor.” We see Jesus encounter this very issue in Luke 10:25-37, when an expert of the law who wanted to “justify himself” asks, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus’s answer is to share the Parable of the Good Samaritan and by the end of the telling, the message is clear, your neighbor is everyone you encounter whether they are friend, stranger, or enemy.
Next, we see that Jesus tells his disciples, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). In the Old Covenant way of love, we were to love as we love ourselves. What we see then, is Jesus is redefining the measuring stick of how we love by saying you are love to the same extent that I have loved you.
Jesus’ love was of a sacrificial nature and not just because Jesus died for our sins on the cross. There are other examples in Scripture, even within the same chapter of John 13, when Jesus who should’ve been the one being served, chose to instead serve His disciples by washing their feet. This task was normally done by the lowest slave within a household.
Jesus’ way of love was to disregarded position and pride; even His own and instead display love in action through serving others. Another example of Jesus’ sacrificial love is when He shows compassion to the people who followed after Him by feeding them even though he Himself was hungry and just needed a rest.
Time and again, we see Jesus acting outside of societal expectations to show love. Jesus, listened, spoke, instructed, comforted, prayed with and for others. He also claimed His disciples as His own, calling them his family. Jesus corrected and identified areas of growth for those who followed Him. Jesus loved sacrificially, and the way His love was shown was adapted to meet people where they were at.
At the heart of this new commandment is this idea of loving everyone, even those who think, look, speak, act differently than us in a sacrificial way as Jesus did. Jesus offered no caveat to this commandment, he simply said love everyone, including people we know, people we don’t know, and even the people we don’t like. We are called to love all people.
In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus addresses the issue of loving our enemies. He talks about how if we only love those who love us, or those who we can stand, that this doesn’t set us apart from non-believers because they do that too. Jesus also indicates that in loving everyone we show ourselves to be God’s children since the Father shows loves by sending both sun and rain to the righteous and unrighteous alike.
So if we are to live out the command to love others, what does this look like?
As I began I shared that during my shopping adventure, that while my friends and I were all able to wear the dresses we picked out, that that the fit of those outfits worked better for some than they did for others within our trio. If we think of love, in the same way that we do when trying on an outfit, we come to recognize that the style of love that works for me won’t necessarily work for you. Each of us receives and gives love in different ways. Some feel loved when given things while others might feel loved when a friend spends quality time with them.
You might then be wondering about how we come determine what love is in style for yourself and for the others around us? Well outside for observing and noticing your own behavior, there was a book published years ago called The 5 Love Languages (by Gary Chapman) that talks about how people give/receive love. As a result of this book’s popularity, there are now online surveys that one can take to identify both how you receive love and how you give love. [Check it out: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes]
The results from such a survey, if shared will give you and others a better understanding of self and those around you who have also shared. The results may also bring you out of your comfort zone as you seek to show love according to someone’s style. For instance, if you normally give love by acts of service but you learn that someone in your life receives love through quality time, you will need to change things up in order to love someone according to the style that fits them best. It’s important to note that while this survey is a helpful tool, that if one were to spend time reflecting on moments when they felt most loved, they’d be about to pin down their own love style.
Additionally if we’re talking about loving everyone, we’re not going to be able to have every acquaintance take a survey before you interact with them. This means that learning what love is in style for an individual, becomes about listening, observing, and noticing those around you. It becomes about trying something new and seeing what happens. If what you try doesn’t work, it means trying something different.
Loving one another as Jesus loves us, means loving sacrificially but also individually. It requires that we become willing to personalize love in the same way that we personalize fashion to fit what works for the individual.
Today as you consider this concept ask yourself
How do I receive love?
How do I show love?
Can I identify what love kind of love is in style for my friends around me?
What can I do to be more observant of others around me?
What is one way this week that I can show someone love in a different style than is my norm?
Lord, we are so grateful that while you love us all equally, that you also recognize the individuality within us. We are thankful that you meet us where we are and love us as we are. Help us to sacrificially love others even when this means getting out of our comfort zone or giving up time doing something else that we enjoy. Today as we consider the many styles or expressions of love that are before us, let us be willing to try to love people in a more personal way that recognizes our uniqueness. Help us to love everyone, no matter who they are. We recognize that this isn’t something we can do in our own strength but in your strength, we’ll be able to succeed. Amen.
https://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Feb-Bible-Study-scaled.jpg14402560Beth Desplanckehttps://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/uswLogo-300x75-300x75.pngBeth Desplancke2022-02-15 11:09:002022-02-15 11:09:28February 2022 Bible Study: Love in Style
By Major Julie Feist Kalispell, MT Corps – Northwest Division
For those who have women who are homebound or are unable to attend, here is a simple program that can be duplicated and mailed or delivered to women. A small Valentine goody could also be included. This program can also be adapted to be a devotional or a Bible study.
Note: When printing, this download is designed to be printed front and back and folded in half as a booklet.
Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:2 (The Message)
I don’t know about you – but not only do I want “to be like Jesus,” I want to love like Jesus loves.
Why? Because I know it’s the best way to live. When we love like Jesus, we’re lifted outside ourselves. We shed self-interest — with our spouse, our kids, friends, everyone. His brand of love sees beyond the normal range of human vision — over walls of resentment and barriers of betrayal. When we love like Jesus, we rise above petty demands and snobbish entitlement. We loosen our tightfisted anxiety and relax in a surplus of benevolence.
Most of all, the Jesus model of love inspires us in following the best way to live, “the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31b, NIV). I want to love like that!
But can anyone really love like Jesus? After all, He raised the bar of love to extraordinary heights. Love your enemies? Walk the extra mile? Turn the other cheek? Seriously? This is love beyond reason, isn’t it? Of course. And that’s the point.
To love like Jesus, we need to think and feel. We need reason and emotion. Both head and heart, working together. It’s the only way to bring perfect love into our imperfect lives.
Here’s the truth: When you open your heart, love changes your mind. Let that sentence soak in. Your mind can do an about-face and be transformed when it receives a divine impulse from your heart. You’ll experience a revolution in your thinking when you allow your heart to enter the conversation. It’s what Paul was getting at when he said, “You’ll be changed from the inside out” (Romans 12:1b, MSG).
Jesus’ teaching and the example he set reveal at least five distinct and practical qualities of His love:
become more mindful — less detached.
become more approachable — less exclusive.
become more graceful — less judgmental.
become more bold — less fearful.
become more self-giving — less self-absorbed.
Is this an exhaustive list of how Jesus loved? Of course not. But it’s a way to get an earthly handle on this heavenly ideal of love. Time and again, Jesus demonstrated these five qualities and spoke about them, not as unreachable ideals. These are doable.
Today’s key verse reminds us: “Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that” (Ephesians 5:2).
FUN FEBRUARY FACTS
The month of February is American Heart Health Month
February is Black History Month
Valentine’s Day is February 14th
February is the only month to have a length fewer than 30 days.
February is one of the most frequently misspelled words in the English language
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GOD’S LOVE
God loves you
God’s love is unconditional
God’s love is revealed to us in Jesus
God calls us to love our enemies
God’s love inspires us to love our neighbors with compassion!
Let these verses remind you that God’s love is everlasting and unchangeable:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
https://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/izumi-lacorte-jS4UNRCMqUk-unsplash-scaled.jpg25601707Beth Desplanckehttps://usw-womensministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/uswLogo-300x75-300x75.pngBeth Desplancke2022-02-15 11:07:002022-02-15 11:07:14February Bonus Resource: Let's Love Like He Loves